Beyond Pink: Women & Electronics

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls. My first bike was navy blue, I told my dad it was a ‘boys’ bike, but hey, my sister had one two, so in our house this rule did not apply. Actually my mom discouraged the use of pink with us, she thought it was tacky. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m wearing hot pink tights as I type this post… but why is it that marketers think if they just spray paint an object pink, it will appeal to the female market?

In 2016, ‘women represent more than $55 billion worth of sales to the consumer electronics industry and influence roughly 75% of all purchases’. I know I have a ton of gadgets and electronic bits all around my house. (no big surprise coming from a blogger) I also have a tool set too. I also know many women who have the final say as to which TV goes in the living room.

If this is the case, then why do most electronics look like they were designed for a dude who probably has a black leather sofa and glass coffee table in the living room? Probably because the industrial design industry is dominated by men. (I shall tread lightly on this topic, as my boyfriend is an industrial designer… we have a white fabric sofa) And we all know men have no idea what we want.

Which is why Vivienne Tam is looking to branch out to consumer electronics, below is an concept of an MP3 player co-designed with Kitman Keung, my first thought was, ‘Thank god it’s not pink.’

colorsI really like the organic form and the glossiness of the rendering, but I’m not sure how big it is, except that it’s designed to hold 8GB.

First of all, I want to applaud this effort to appeal to women through careful thought, not via patronization. Secondly, I’m left with lots of mixed emotions because the the temporary nature of electronics. My cell phone is only a year old, and I already want a new one. People are always buying iPods because they run out of memory, or because the battery breaks down. Electronics are not biodegradable… in the US they amount to 70% of toxic waste. Combining the trendiness of fashion with electronics can’t be good. I would wear a dress from 1978. I wouldn’t use a computer from 1978, I don’t even know if it would fit in my apartment, or even hold one of the images used in this post.

If I were to write an open letter to industrial designers (like they read this blog) about what I want out of my electronic devices, I’d tell them this.

  1. Please no more pink, I want beautiful sophisticated products.
  2. Intuitive design… you know ‘women’s intuition?’ I don’t like to figure stuff out.
  3. Make them so they last more than a few years. Come on, it’s better for the planet. Why is it more expensive to repair or replace parts than to buy the whole thing new?
  4. Form & function. The reason why I have never got into the whole walkman-iPod thing is because headphones are so ugly. I can’t walk down the streets with wires coming out of my ears!

And also, last but not least, try to find classic design rather than following trends. Something useful I can cherish. I read more women would rather get a high definition, flat panel, big screen TV than a one carat diamond ring for the holidays. Actually, I don’t know who those women are… I just read it somewhere.

  1. yeah… i was thinking that about profits too… but eco-friendly solutions keep popping up without cutting into profits, and sometimes increasing them… i don’t know why this isn’t infiltrating the consumer electronics industry.

  2. Oh, come on. These pinky-minky stuff is so awful, don’t you think. It’s for 5-grade girls only, I’m sure 😀

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